Archive | April, 2010

Change of Focus

28 Apr

In case anyone is checking the blog regualarly, I’ve hit the burnout wall hard, and I’m evaluating weather or not I’m going to keep this blog. Best case, it’s in for a shift in focus, and at worst, this is the last post.

Falross

Shared Topic: Levelling 1-10

19 Apr

Some folks have been concerned about the newbie levelling experience. I can’t say I blame them with levels 1-10 being very bland, and you don’t really have many class-defining abilities yet. Hunters don’t get pets until level 10, Shamans get one or two totems, Paladins pretty much are just auto-attacking. Some things have changed though, I remember way back when, warlocks had to do a quest for their pets. And they were reasonably challenging at the time if you were unfamiliar with the game.

The worst experience that I am aware of is the 1-10 hunter.  You have no pet, so you resort to melee, after pulling with your ranged weapon.  It’s almost surprising that hunters are (were?) the most popular class, since the introductory levels have almost nothing in common with the accepted playstyle of the class.  I see that they are planning to change this in Cataclysm and have new hunters start with a pet at level 1.  I hope they have some sort of mechanic or quest where the hunter has to learn how to use his pet properly, or we’ll be in for a real treat once he starts running instances.

The other classes that I have played at least give you a glimpse of what is in store for you at later levels.  Shamans get totems, Paladins get blessings and auras, Warlocks get their imp, etc. 

Another factor is likely the layout of the starting zones, with the exception of the Dranei and Blood Elf zones, there is a lot of running back and forth to get quest objecives. 

Now having said this, when I joined the game from Everquest (1), WoW was a breath of fresh air.  There was no loading screens between zones, and quests you could actually figure out on your own.  Unfortunately, as far as I’m aware, there haven’t been any changes to the starting zones since launch.  We certainly need an update to the starting zones, so WoW has a chance of competing with the new MMOs that are coming out.  Sure WoW is the 8000 pound gorilla in the room, but they will lose people and market share if they don’t make changes to keep up.

I’ve heard that the starting zones are getting a revamp in Cataclysm.  Let’s hope we can keep getting some fresh blood between now and launch, since I’m sure a lot of veterans will be taking some time off before Cataclysm.

TL:DR
With no updates to the starting areas in 5+ years, they need to improve the original starting zones with better quest layout, and possibly rework when some classes get abilities, so you can have a better idea if this is a character you want to continue playing.  It seems like this is coming in Cataclysm, so I hope Blizzard pulls out the stops like they usually do, and revamp the levelling experience.

Falross

The Best Laid Plans

15 Apr

I know that World of Warcraft is a game, and I imagine that you’re playing for fun.  What defines fun is a different story, and you could likely have an entire blog, or even several dedicated to that.  I’d like to suggest that you have a plan or a general idea of what you want to accomplish when you log in.

Now I’m not saying you must have a detailed down-to-the-minute itinerary for your game time, but it seems like many of us are gaming on a very limited schedule.  Speaking for myself if I log in without some idea of what I want to do, I tend to wander around Dalaran trying to figure out what to do.  Inevitably I log off in about half an hour feeling frustrated that I wasted the time.

What I’ve found works the best for me is to have 3-4 possibilities in mind when you log in.  You can likely get by with less if you raid on a regular basis (I don’t, due to an erratic schedule).  But I inevitably get a string of bad groups when I log in with the intention of running heroics until my fingers fall off.  On those nights it seems like I’m out of sync with the queue, and have to wait for 20+ minutes for every group, and then get Oculus and have 3 or more tanks drop the group once they zone in.

If you have a backup plan, you can just go quest, fish,  pvp, or do achievements when it appears your chosen course is not going well.  As opposed to trying to make your planned pastime work for an hour or two, and then quitting in frustration.

Remember it’s a game, and some nights it’s just better to cut your losses, and log off once in awhile, even if you can’t play often.  Now let’s see if I can take my own advice the next time thing go South.

Falross

Dungeon Finder

12 Apr

I know this is an old topic, but the blog is new, so here goes.  First let me say that I think the dungeon finder system is probably the greatest thing that Blizzard has added to the game since it launched.  Unfortunately, it has also brought out some very nasty behavior in people.  Through the dungeon finder I have met some great people who are patient and willing to explain the fights to a relatively new 80.  On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve been told my gear or DPS are crap, and promptly quit the group.

With Gravesaur (then Kitinara), I ran a lot of dungeons once the dungeon finder was implemented in December.  When I hit 80, Grav was outfitted with mostly iLvl 175+ gear, and he had a few badges saved up.  This let me get a couple of pieces of badge gear fairly easily.  I was actually shocked how fast I went from needing items in heroics to just running them for badges.   ToC and the ICC instances are pretty much the only instances that can provide upgrades for me other than badge gear.  I still enjoy running the instances, but I am getting a little sick of Halls of Stone, since it seems to come up more frequently in the random dungeon than the others.

Ikotar seems to have geared up really fats, but that may be due to the fact that I spent a bunch of badges on heirlooms for Nycterenne :P.   It also felt easier to get into the groove for heroics with Ikotar probably because I had already seen the content on Gravesaur, and the community for hunters is great with a lot of different resources for figuring out spec and priority lists.

In Nycterenne’s case, it’s been a bit of a mixed bag.  After running Northrend dungeons for awhile, you forget how complicated and long the old-world dungeons were.  This has been reinforced constantly with running Maraudon and Blackrock Depths.  I really hope that Outlands proves to be different, but I’m unsure, since I didn’t do many groups in Burning Crusade, since I found getting into groups painful as a DPS prior to the Dungeon Finder.

I’m hoping that with Nycterenne I’ll be able to run some of the instances that I really enjoyed from the original game.  Lower and Upper Blackrock Spire, Live & Dead Stratholme, and Scholomance.  There are probably a couple I’m forgetting, but I would be happy to see those while I can get experience from them.

As my warlock and hunter, the dungeon finder has motivated me to clean up my spec and rotations substantially.  I’m probably not doing maximum DPS, but mobs are dying, and I’m not pulling aggro (much), so something must be going right.

Well, the dungeon finder may not be perfect for everyone, but it is a huge step in the right direction.

Falross

Healer Frustration

9 Apr

I’ve recently been focussing on Nycterenne, my druid more.  She’s got all the benefits of having a high level sugar daddy (mamma?), and she’ll be getting everything my main never had until recently.  Unfortunately, this also includes some of the bad stuff that I never dealt with on Kit.  Well, I never noticed, or was causing the issue in question.

I’ve recently hit 50, and that means my “random” dungeon has changed from Maraudon to Blackrock Depths.  I’m also noticing that since I’ve stepped into BRD, the quality of players has gone down alarmingly.  Maybe this is more noticeable as a healer since I’m supposed to keep everyone else alive, as opposed to a DPS who merely has to stay out of the fire, and not take the aggro spotlight from the tank.  Maybe it’s because I have to be more careful with my mana to avoid running out at a critical time.

Tanks.  I really have to wonder about some of the tanks I’ve seen in recent days.  I can’t figure out if they’re used to just steamrolling heroics so they feel like they can do the same in levelling dungeons.  Maybe they’re mains are DPS who see tanks steamroll heroics, and figure they can do the same at lower levels.  If you have the gear, and LET ME KNOW ABOUT IT, fine.  Otherwise, you come off as ignorant and stupid if you keep over-pulling without asking the healer.  I don’t mind using inervate, but I get a little worried if I have to use it on the third pull due to non-stop healing.  Also mana breaks would be nice.  I don’t need one after every pull, but it would be nice to be asked once in a while.

Buffs.  I’m a little worried about the player base if you haven’t figured out that you have buffs that help yourself and your party.  It just blows my mind that I have to ask several times for blessings and soulstones when we start a dungeon.  Look through you spellbook sometime, and I bet you’ll find some spells that will help even when you are soloing.

After my recent experiences in BRD, I’m not surprised why most of the healers I come across in heroics have such a low tolerance for games, and other antics in instances.

Falross